St. Christopher ‘Chasing Down Hell’ – LP review
by Phil Newall
St Christopher myspace
Popular myth suggests that Saint Christopher took it upon himself to serve the ”Ëgreatest king’. Having observed 3rd centaury Christians genuflect he believed The Devil to be that King so set out to serve him, however he discovered the Devil was scarred of water so rejected him, and chose to serve Christ by carrying less able individuals across a torrid river ”â And now it appears he has chosen to release an album!! If that is the case it’s apparent that Christopher may well have rejected the Devil, but he certainly learnt how to play guitar at his feet!!
”ËChasing Down Hell’ is the first solo offering from Chris Webster aka Saint Christopher, the singer/songwriter/front man of Lincoln’s punk/metalists The Motherf@@@’n Saints, Webster is an admirer of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, however he may well have heard of Suicide, and certainly The Gun Club judging by what I am hearing”Â¦
The album was initially recorded in summer 2008, quite why it has taken until now for copies to reach us in the UK is open for debate; rest assured it’s been our loss!!
Webster learnt his craft with the Motherf@@@’n Saints, apparently his then wife didn’t approve of the rock ”Ën’ roll lifestyle demanded by the Saints and filed for divorce ”â with that came homelessness and bankruptcy. Webster responded by immersing himself the writing of ”ËChasing Down Hell’ a raw, stripped down, and at times painfully honest outpouring of his frustration, and loss.
“Music was my therapy,”Â Webster said. “I never went to a therapist this whole time. It was rough. But it is honest. I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong. You listen to the old Hank songs, the Waylon songs like ”ËLonesome, On’ry and Mean,’ the old Cash stuff, they’re not justifying why they have problems or what’s going on. They’re saying this is my life and it sucks.”Â
Webster reached for his acoustic and took up residence in the local bar; he was joined by longtime friend Aaron McCoy who contributes additional instruments to four of the seven tracks. The result is hard to define, its country, meets punk, meets nu-metal, with vocals many an industrial band strive and yet fail to attain, granted the emotion, the liquor have taken their toll ”â this ain’t no polished body of work but as Webster says “We went for the feel, so sometimes it’s not pretty. I’m always hitting wrong notes and sometimes the timing is off. But that’s music.”Â
LINK to YouTube Saint Christopher ”ËDirty’
I doubt this CD will become ”Ëin house’ at your local relationship councellors anytime soon, titles such as ”ËRegret & Guilt’, ”ËDebt’, ”ËNever Forgive’ are hardly likely to lift many peoples spirits, but that wasn’t the point ”â The album was a cathartic experience, not just emotionally but also musically “When it came to the music, all rules were out the window”Â explains Webster
“We just hung out, got f@@@ed up, and messed around with the material I had been writing. I believe that laid back attitude allowed us to experiment with the music”Â¦ I got to do things that I’d wanted to do for a long time. I used open ‘G’ and ‘D’ tunings. I played with a slide on two songs. Aaron and I played piano on one track. Both of us played drum parts with brushes to get that Johnny Cash/ Sun Studio “boom-chicka-boom” sound “I wanted this CD to be simple, raw, and to the point”Â
Saint Christopher clearly got what he wished for! There will be some who will cite The White Stipes, yeah that’s in there, but perhaps more Jawbone than Jack & Meg, but the minimalist drum beats, the Martin Rev clipped voice take this to a whole new place were county meets the blues and is then force fed via punk and industrial metal right into your senses; the lyrics are at times self indulgent, but this album was put together as a way of therapy so the often heartfelt emotions we have all felt are in there laid bare, Webster emotionally exposes himself ”â a rare trait in music these days, and one we should be grateful for.
Whispering Bob Harris is currently telling us to “keep it country”Â ”â I’m not entirely convinced by that, though I will take Saint Christopher’s distorted country as a starter.
A new CD is expected anytime now ”â Head to www.saintchristopher13.com for release details etc.